This past month, the HR Shield team was fortunate enough to attend and sponsor the 2013 Dueling Chefs Competition here in Tampa Bay!

Since 2008, the people of our community have been coming together once a year at the Centre Club to watch 2 dueling chefs dish up delicious fundraising dinners. HR Shield’s very own Patrick Moraites serves as the Dueling Chefs Competition Founder and Chairman!

For those culinary masters brave enough to accept the challenge, each is provided with a “secret” ingredient…. The secret ingredient must make its way into a signature dish that both the people and the celebrity judges deem irresistible!

Since the event’s inception, eleven of the top restaurants in Tampa have accepted this challenge which aims to raise at least $25,000 for The Children’s Cancer Center of Tampa. On November 8th, attendees enjoyed an evening of sampling and socializing alongside the event’s silent auction, stocked with beautiful high end gifts and trinkets and heart-warming original artwork made by the children of the Center.

The two competing restaurants were local Chef Michael Buttacavoli of CENA and local Chef Suzanne Crouch of Ella’s American Folk Art Cafe. CENA took home the judge’s vote, and Ella’s won the vote of the people.

We were thrilled to play a part in giving back to our community and look forward to supporting the Dueling Chefs competition and other non-profit initiatives in the New Year ahead! What does your company do for community involvement? Do you have a formal giving plan?

It is not often we see children in our place of employment, unless they are simply passing through, someone is visiting, or perhaps an employee’s new baby is being introduced to the staff!  But, for the past 20 years, Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work has been providing employers and employees with an annual designated date for sharing your working environment with your children. This year, more than 37 million youth and adults will participate at over 3.5 million workplaces.

The upcoming day is just over a month away, on Thursday, April 26th.  While many employers may feel bring your child to work dayoverwhelmed by the thought of children in the working environment or worried about what distractions it may present, as Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work says, “It’s all about teamwork!”

Working together with employees, parents, mentors and educators to help promote the working environment is key to creating a successful community where children look forward to furthering their education, engaging themselves in the working environment, and fulfilling their dreams!

Here are some helpful tips to ensure you have a GREAT and successful day!

  • Recommended ages are 8-18: Unfortunately, younger children may lose interest easily, not fully comprehend what they are being exposed to, or may pose as a distraction to other employees. If an employee would like to bring an especially young child into work, we recommend you honestly assess the situation and perhaps provide an alternative solution for meeting the desired needs—such as an after-hours tour of the office, a weekend visit, or a shortened visit.
  • Revise Schedules if Necessary: If you have deadlines, important meetings or other scenarios that do not quite adhere to having children in the office on April 26th, present alternative dates or designated times to employees wanting to bring their children to work. For example, instead of an entire day, a half day will serve the need, without having to cancel the day entirely.
  • Ensure Your Environment is SAFE: Remember, children are not your employees. They are also not adults. If you work with machinery, or ANYTHING that may be dangerous to an inexperienced child or visitor, it is recommended you limit the amount of space or work they are exposed to, and review your current company policies surrounding workplace safety and compliance. More safety tips can be found by clicking here.
  • Big company? Create a Planning Committee:   Involve different departments and employees at every level of your organization. This will ensure each child gets to see different departments and processes within your company, and also streamlines the process a bit more so that children and parents are not roaming around aimlessly!

For more information, questions, or concerns, feel free to contact one of our HR Consultants at HR Shield.

For more details on Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work day on April 26th, visit

Many companies focus on community engagement and corporate service programs for specific societal issues, whether that be education, health, culture, environment or poverty. Utilizing your own company’s resources and talent can be a great way to give back to the society that you live, work and play in. Giving back as a company requires direct action and collaboration and can be great for team building and instilling value, pride, social responsibility, leadership and empowerment in your employees.

HR Professionals and HR Departments are often responsible for organizing such efforts, especially if a company is not large enough to have its own designated community outreach coordinator. The fastest way to decide which organizations or causes you want to support, is to ask your employees. Find out what they’re passionate about, what they participate in outside of work, or what they’ve been personally touched by. Whether you have one or several groups in mind, there are many ways to give back this holiday season that are cost-effective for your organization and can get every employee involved. See the following for ideas!corporate giving

Gifts for Families or Organizations in Need: Host an internal company gift drive for those in need. If each employee brings in something small, and you have multiple employees involved, you can touch a number of lives this holiday season. Team building activities can involve organizing, wrapping, and even hand delivering the gifts. Designate certain employees for leadership roles and if you have a lot of employees, consider making teams with different responsibilities.

Holiday Packages for Soldiers: Many soldiers are away from their homes and families this holiday season. Giving back can extend far beyond your immediate surroundings. Host a holiday-package making party for soldiers in your place of employment. This can be easily accomplished by putting different employees in charge of different things such as supplies, donations, card making, and more.

Stomp out Hunger: Many companies host internal food drives, which is a great way to collect a lot of food for those in need. If your company has the resources, or enough time, consider hosting an actual lunch or dinner for the hungry. Designate certain employees for leadership roles such as collecting the food and donations, organizing the event day, inviting people in need, and even cooking. It’s a great way for everyone to work together towards one rewarding day, and interact directly with your community.

Speaking Engagements: Does your company have valuable information and expertise you could be sharing with the community? Perhaps speaking to high school students about the importance of college? What about speaking to the unemployed about resume building? Sharing your best financial practices? Sometimes help doesn’t need to be an actual item or monetary gift, it can be as simple as delivering knowledge that helps people in your community move forward with their lives.

Fundraising: Have a cause you’d like to support, but not enough time or employees to directly engage with the organization? Monetary gifts are ALWAYS greatly appreciated and allow organizations or people in need to purchase the things they need most. Instead of asking each employee to directly contribute, create a fundraising plan, in which employees can collect donations and raise funds. Making teams creates fun internal competition and can increase the amount of funds your company is able to collect. If you have multiple locations or offices, consider having them compete against one another.

Service Hours: Many organizations within your community are in need of service hours and volunteers. Taking a day off from work to volunteer as a company is a great experience, and allows your employees to work on Team Building activities, interact outside of the office, get to know one another, and have fun.

For more corporate holiday giving ideas, contact HR Shield. Our team will gladly provide feedback for those looking to make a difference in their community this holiday season!